Monday, December 1, 2008

Who's minding the Homeland Security store?

Kentucky state Rep. Tom Riner is miffed that the state's Homeland Security office isn't giving God enough props for keeping the fine people of the Bluegrass State safe from terrorists. Riner, also a Southern Baptist minister, secured legislative approval of an amendment in 2006 requiring that God get his due in that regard. The law was passed during the administration of then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who was known for giving God credit in his reports to state leaders. But the AP is reporting that new Gov. Steve Beshear's administration didn't follow suit with a shout-out to God in its 2008 Homeland Security report. "We certainly expected it to be there, of course," said Riner. Here's a little more from the AP report:

The law that organized the Homeland Security office first lists Homeland Security's duty to recognize that government itself can't secure the state without God, even before mentioning other duties, which include distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and analyzing possible threats.
Included in (Riner's) law is a requirement that the office must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance on Almighty God."

Said Riner, "Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government."
Um, Rev. Riner, I don't mean to be impolite, but where, exactly, was your God on Sept. 11, 2001? I mean, if we're going to entrust him with the whole Homeland Security thing, don't you thing we should expect a better job than that? Or was your God trumped by the Muslim God that day. Boy, that's embarrassing. And if your God is all-powerful, why spend these millions of dollars on Homeland Security, both in your state and nationally? Why not just rely on the "Big Guy" to handle everything. Surely, after 9/11, he'd be a bit more diligent. But really, we should have a backup plan in case He has another lapse and falls asleep at the switch. Perhaps we also should seek the help of Allah, Buddha, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (shown above), Vishnu, Krishna, Haile Selassie and the Legion of Super Heroes. There, that should do it. Sleep tight.



Blogger Ellipses said...

Holy Cowbells that's some retarded stuff there!... I am completely comfortable with the fact that the VAST majority of people believe differently than I do about God... but you guys can't seem to find any common ground even when you agree that he exists... and seriously... this is a deity that created ALL OF EXISTENCE, right? Do you think he gives a chit if the state of Freakin' Kentucky officially thanks him? C'mon! Kentucky has only existed for about 10% of the time that the world has even recognized the Christian God... He's the Alpha and the Omega... but his feelings get hurt if the people in the great state of KY don't acknowledge him in documents that only a handful of people actually read?

Please... in your constant attempts to kill each other, please don't kill me.

December 1, 2008 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all goes back to the age-old problem that both sides in any war believe that god is on their side. How is that possible? Does god pick winners & losers? Does he know all that will happen, indeed "the number of hairs on your head?" If so, why give us free will? If you believe in an omnipotent god, you also must believe that god makes "bad things happen to good people." Why? It's a mystery .. part of a grand plan that we cannot fathom. I'm still working on believing that.

December 1, 2008 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

you also must believe that god makes "bad things happen to good people."

This is an irrelevant argument. There are no "good" people. It made a catchy title for a book, one that many people bought. But, that does not make the phrase truthful.

December 1, 2008 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, we're all sinners ... I get it. But tell me why Hitler is permitted to off 6 million Jews but a family of devout Christians is hit head-on by a drunk driver, the daughter sustaining severe brain damage that turned her from a cheerleader into a vegetable. Did her sin match Hitler's? Was it a lesson to this family? Or did god turn the steering wheel on the car of the drunk to convince him that he shouldn't drink and drive?
Bad things DO happen to good people. To see the truth of that statement, all you have to do is open your eyes. And while "Good things happen to bastards" probably would not have sold as well, it's equally true.

December 1, 2008 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Read Luke 13:1-5 about the tower incident. The teaching is repentance, without regard to a perceived fairness.

For the reverse picture, read Psalm 37 and 73. The perception of injustice is discussed in terms of a longer vision.

December 2, 2008 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I think that the confusion over this issue is endemic to a principal understanding of god... Another great phrase is that God is the Alpha and the Omega... if we look to the treatment of God in Paradise Lost, we see the struggle of man to determine his free will in the presence of an OMNIPOTENT god... God is said to be both all-powerful and all knowing... indeed he knows everything that ever was, is or will ever be, right? The problem is in the understanding of power in this context. We know that "knowledge is power" and I would deduce that the power of god stems from the omnipotence... This would suggest that god is indeed all knowing, but it does not necessarily translate to him being the puppeteer behind all of existence. In fact, there is little, outside of the OLD testament to suggest that god is an "interfering" being... His supreme knowledge would dictate that he knows of ever Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, etc... but there isn't much to say that he can or will do anything about it. Of course, this is a dangerous idea for a lot of christians because it eliminates the need for reciprocal action on the part of man... no reason to pray if god can't answer your prayers... god is knowledgeable of all of your past, present, and future sins, so he already knows about the fornication and deviance that you are going to engage in this weekend. Ending god at omnipotence even removes him from observer status... why watch when you know the outcome?

December 2, 2008 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It falls on the just and the unjust. Also great good can come from great evil. God's purposes are not known and revealed, that is why we have faith.
Would Israel exist without the holocaust? Would the holocaust be remembered with the sacrifice of Anne Frank? God gives us free will, but he is still an actor in the individual lives of men and women in guiding them to a greater path. But he reminds us that this world is of Satan and that until his return, we follow him out of love, trust and duty, not reward.
I understand that it flies in the face of the popular Gospels of wealth that some tv preachers use and wealthy churches, but we are not called to glory or riches, we are called to serve Christ in our everyday lives.
The reward is the service of our creator.
BTW the omnipotent (all powerful all controlling) is not really a biblical concept, it grows out of doctrine later. He controls the fate of the world, but you decide your own fate (hence free will). He uses the situation to bring people to him. The amount of time you live on this earth is not as a important as whether someone comes to know Christ.
Given that we will all die one day that would also seem to be the logical conclusion of Christianity and God (accepting Christian philosophy).

December 2, 2008 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

I will re-read your post later when I have a bit more time... the thing that stuck out was the idea of an omnipotent god emerging LATER in the doctrine... I have to take issue with that as the concept appears to be directly descended with the classical greek understanding of god (as is brilliantly laid out in Aristotle's Physics) of a prime mover who is without magnitude, has infinite influence and is spherical in nature (on a sphere, every point is both a beginning and an end)...

December 2, 2008 at 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is, God gave us minds, and it is the nature of Man to question nearly everything. That's why, if I bitch, I'm not concerned that God will take offense, because he/she created me and expected that I'll complain. I understand that is may be slightly arrogant to want to understand what God's plan is, but, like I said, it's our nature. I think that what the common person fails to take into account is that, even for clergy, it's hard to understand God's will or plan. Just because you "believe" doesn't mean youir life is all roses. That's where faith comes in.

So I believe that God answers prayers ... sometimes. I'm not so sure that God aaves people with terminal illneses just because people pray for them, or -- despite ample eveidence in the OT -- that God smites the wicked every time they deserve it. I'm not convinced that God causes good things to happen to people anymore than he makes bad things happen to them. I think we are more than capable of causing our own misery and good times and that God stands aside and lest us do just that. I feel this way because it is very hard for me to believe that God picks and chooses who to help and who to ignore.

Ultimtaely, I think life is a journey to faith, to accepting things without an explanation and believing that, even if all things don't always work out for the best, well ... they sometimes do.

December 2, 2008 at 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ellipses, greek influence came later than than the original Hebrew texts. That is part of the issue. Find the words all-powerful or omnipotent in the biblical texts. Also consider that God is shown to make mistakes (Flooding anyone?).
But also consider that the idea is not to sin. Sin by it's biblical def. is Rebellion against God's will. God of course cannot rebel against God's will.
For me to be jealous is wrong, it is not wrong for God.
See ya

December 3, 2008 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Why is flooding a mistake by god?

December 3, 2008 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Noah Flood

December 3, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just say Noah.

December 3, 2008 at 11:30 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

That is still old testament... the current god is infallible :-)God is like cheese, he gets better with age.

December 3, 2008 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New Testament says little about the nature of God. Again impressions are not directly biblical.
I can't remember the author but it was once stated about how someone would wish they could have read the Bible without ever encountering Christianity. It would be fascinating. (I believe it was Lord Byron, but I could be very wrong there)

December 4, 2008 at 8:22 AM  

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